Was Michelle Wolf “funny?” Was she there at the White House Correspondent’s Association Dinner last Saturday night as a comedian, or what?
She was hired to be funny (I suppose) – and, clearly, in the Washington atmosphere of today, to poke “fun” at the warring tribes that make up our body politics.
The oldest Press Dinner -the Gridion Club – has a working rule: that in “poking fun” at politicans and the like, the Girdion “singes but never burns.” That is, put on a good-natured ribbing of the politiicans, the powerful, the Washingto “elite’ but nothing that suggests “going in for the kill!”
In a modern sense, comedy (from the Greek: κωμῳδία, kōmōidía) refers to any discourse or work generally intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, television, film, stand-up comedy, or any other medium of entertainment” (Wikipedia).
So, I ask again, was Michelle Wolf humorous, funny?
NO, she was almost never “funny” in a sense that both Republicans and Democrats, Trump Supporters and Trump haters,everyone could laugh at her jokes(?).
She played to a divided room with a vengence. No “bring us together” for Michelle.
Those who laughed at her “nothing off limits” assault on All Things Trump were simply giving vent to their dislike of him. And those who sat silent were simply suppressing their resentment at her attack on him and his. Yes, a few in the middle – a precious few – simply goaned at what was supposed to be a joke but lacked any humor no matter who the listener.
Michell Wolf, in commenting on the furor her “act” has caused says there is nothing, not one word, one “joke” that she regrets.
“I wouldn’t change a single word that I said. I’m very happy with what I said, and I’m glad I stuck to my guns,” she told Terry Gross. She added that before her performance, a friend handed her a note that said: “Be true to yourself. Never apologize. Burn it to the ground.”
Ah, yes, Michelle, “Burn it to the ground…Never apologize.”
Did you see your moment in the Washington Sun as a test of your courage, of your womanhood?
You knew you were not talking to a single issue room in which only poltical partsans of one side were present. You knew you were being watched outside the room by millions of Americans with sharply divergent views.
Morever, you knew your venue was that of a group of journalists who are fighting to retain the respect and trust of a pubic being pulled hard by an Administration and its supporters bent on destroying America’s free press.
So, how did you see your mission, what did you think the Association had hired you to do?
Clearly, you came to “whip it on, tell it like it is, pin the infidels to the ground” and humiliate them through “humor” as a punishment for their wicked ways.
You saw yourself as Tomas de Torquemada not as a comedian hired to make eveyone laugh.
I understand the temptation.
In these “blogs” of mine, I’ve been super critical of Donald J. Trump, of who he is, what he stands for, how he is adversely affecting our Country, it’s people, and the World. I’ve tried not to call him vulgar names but, Michelle, I understand how you feel. He and his band of selfish thugs must be turned back lest we lose all that is good about America.
But I’m not delivering my diatribes against Trump under the guise of comedy before the White House Correspondent’s Association.
Speak on, Michelle. Take to the stump, speak from the stage of your nightclub, write to your friends and twitter to your followers. But if you have no use for subtely as in Swift’s Modest Proposal for ending the Irish potato famine do not cloak your feelings to a general audience as “humor” or “comedy.”
And demonstrate a modicum of humility,as in “in retrospect I could have made the same point about Sarah Huckebee Sanders without stripping her of every last shred of decency and humanity.”
People will like you more if there is a sense of compassion in your work. But, perhaps, more important to your cause, you will be more effective in persuading others to your message.
Preaching to the choir which will tell you “Oh, you were wonderful, you were so great” may be momentarily satisfying but the choir alone never converted a sinner, never built a church.
I’m not askng you to be Bob Hope or Don Rickles or Lucille Ball or Gilda Radner or other of the past, great non-political comedians. Be sharp in your politicl humor when the occassion is right if you must.
I’m just asking you as a self-described comedian to remember your first and most important priority:
Above all, be funny!